Maple Leaf Adventures - Best of the Inside Passage and Haida Gwaii ... plus some!
The coastline of British Columbia and Alaska undulates into bays, twists into archipelagos, and stretches down f jords that slice through mountain ranges. This is wild geography. There are few roads. As a result, wildlife and nature thrive. The few coastal communities have a deep connection to the ocean. To reach the richest areas, you must travel by water, as people have done for millennia. Our tiny ships access a world closed to bigger ships. Our permits and First Nations protocol agreements, combined with our crew’s local knowledge, give you exclusive reach to special areas, wildlife and people.
Haida Gwaii, formally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, is an archipelago of islands on the continental shelf off Canada's west coast. Join us for an 8-day adventure by land and sea. You'll explore the famed, rich marine life and rainforests, as well as the Haida culture. Includes the whole archipelago, from north to south, ancient to modern, including Gwaii Haanas and UNESCO World Heritage Site SGang Gwaay (Ninstints).
Personalized and Enriching
With just 8, 12 or 24 guests per trip, you travel as our welcome guest, not part of a crowd to be managed. The proximity you will feel to the coast’s mountains, forests and life is incomparable with any other form of cruising. Every moment is part of a real journey. Enjoy the friendship of residents. Smell the sweet coniferous forest as you step ashore. Feel the rhythm of ship and ocean as you steer under crew’s guidance, taste the f lavour of huckleberries or freshly caught prawns, and hear a whale’s sharp inhalation of breath before it dives. Our purpose is to delight and inspire you, while also benefitting our ecosystems and social fabric. Care and attention to detail are at the heart of all we do.
Everyone is a local - from naturalist to chef - with insights to share. Often they are involved in ongoing coastal research, community building, and the care of our unique ships. All are handpicked for their mastery and expertise. They are happy to share their knowledge with you – expert mariners’ intimate understanding of coastal bathymetry and weather; chefs’ knowledge of how to make delicacies from nettles; naturalists’ understanding of bears’ body language; visits with local researchers who understand the latest patterns and behaviors of humpback whales.
- Rainforest walks
- Exploring by small boat
- Wildlife viewing
- Natural history interpretation
- Coastal village visits
- Beach campfire and star watching in dark skies
- Cultural experiences and site visits
- Kayaking (optional)
- Hiking (optional; possibly one good hike on a trip)
- Fishing (with a licence)
- Foraging (sea asparagus, berries, etc., some trips only)
Eco-Tourism is Regenerative
Our approach is to enhance, rather than take from, our home, to give you an exceptional experience that also leaves a legacy. Ever since our inception 30 years ago, we have celebrated, partnered with and funded nature conservation and cultural communities, including indigenous communities and guides, where we operate. Spontaneous Adventures Our itineraries are flexible to give you the best experience possible; they are true open itineraries in the spirit of exploration and discovery. If you seek to explore in an authentic way, with the camaraderie of expert crew and guides, we look forward to welcoming you aboard.
Is Adventure Travel for You?
This is a trip for people with adventurous spirits. Our ships are beautiful and comfortable but if you seek urban or cruise ship amenities, including shows, shopping and 24-hour-a-day alcohol, this trip may not be for you.
- Cruise into Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, a remote and culturally rich landscape on the southern half of Haida Gwaii.
- Visit ancient village sites and witness the remains of big houses and memorial poles
- Listen to the stories and knowledge of Haida Guardian Watchmen who look after village sites and share their culture
- learn about coastal culture, from Haida earliest culture to the present
- Explore the region’s beautiful island landscape, remote beaches, rich intertidal life, and old growth temperate rainforest
- Beachcomb and land on remote islands.
- Experience humpback whales in their feeding habitat
- Watch a black bear forage at low tide
- Investigate the intricacies of Haida Gwaii’s endemic and rare species
- Frequent shore trips
- Moderate walking
- Small boat rides in zodiacs
- Marine Mammal Viewing (Stellar Sea Lions)
- Whale Watching (Humpback Whales)
- Bird Watching (Millions of breeding birds, including puffins)
- Natural history through hands-on experience and talks with your naturalist and any scientists encountered on your trip
- Visit Ancient Village Site, Cultural Interpretation, and story telling
- Sail when on SV Maple Leaf
- Explore remote beaches
Landscape And Nature
Haida Gwaii is an archipelago of islands separated from the rest of BC by an incredible body of water, Hecate Strait. Formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands, the name was changed to represent the heritage and continued cultures of the Haida People who flourish in this region.
Gwaii Haanas, the southern portion of Haida Gwaii, is rich with culture and natural history.
The Haida welcome us into the ancient village site, such as UNESCO World Heritage Site SGang Gwaay (Ninstints), where ancient poles still stand. Others, such as Tanu, where you will marvel at the mossy depressions where big houses once stood.
- Get to know the modern villages of Graham Island where Haida culture is alive and flourishing. Witness artwork and carvings recently created.
- Travel deep into Gwaii Haanas “Place of Wonder” where you will walk among ancient monumental poles and house remains.
- Haida guides will explain the purpose of the poles and the lives their ancestors lived. The overall sense of power found in these villages is unforgettable.
- Baleen whales (humpback, fin)
- Killer whale / orca
- Pacific White Sided Dolphin
- Dall’s porpoise
- Black Bear
- Black Tail Deer
- Bald eagle
- Sea Stars, Anemones, and Moon Snail
Where else does Maple Leaf Adventures go? Ask me about the Great Bear Rainforest (11 different itineraries); Alaska (3 itineraries); the Gulf Islands and Salish Sea (4 itineraries); Desolation Sound (3 itineraries); Broughton Archipelago (1 itinerary); Vancouver Island (3 itineraries)